Sales results for the southern Georgian Bay real estate market are now out for the month of November and show a slight increase in dollar volume for the month versus at the end of November 2017 but with that is a continuation of weaker unit sales that we have seen throughout most of 2018.
Sales reported through the MLS® system of the Southern Georgian Bay Association of REALTORS® for November reflect a modest 2% gain in dollar sales revenue for the month totalling $75.3 million versus $73.9 million in November 2017. At the same time, MLS® unit sales in November of 134 properties shows a 12% decline from the same month last year when 153 sales were reported. Ironically the number of new listings coming to market in November increased 8% with 183 properties coming onto the market compared to 170 new listings in the same month last year. Nonetheless this increase in available inventory coming onto the market as we approach the holiday season is no doubt "to little to late" to bolster overall the sales shortfall for 2018.
After two years of back-to-back annual MLS® sales in 2016 and 2017 that surpassed $1 billion for the first time in each of those years, sales volume for 2018 is going to come in below the level we saw in 2017. Year-to-date MLS® dollar sales to the end of November totals $880.2 million, a decrease of 14% from $1.025 billion in MLS® listings sold during the first 11 months of 2017. These year-to-date results for 2018 are also below the results we had in 2016 both in terms of dollars and the number of properties sold. With the holiday season being a priority for many, December is traditionally a slow month for real estate sales and listing activity. Monthly sales in December are typically below $50 million, this would suggest total annual MLS® sales across our market for 2018 will be in the $925 +/- million range.
MLS® Single family home and condo unit sales are both running at a similar pace and are well below the number of properties sold through the first 11 months of 2017. Year-to-date single family home sales total 1,352 units down 18% from 1,656 sold in the same period last year. At the same time condo sales of 414 units are also down 18% from last year when 503 units we sold. In both cases it is important to point out that new home and condo sales made by developers are not included in these MLS® statistics some of which would account for the softer sales of MLS® resale properties this year. Vacant residential land sales are well below the number sold in 2017 primarily due to a lack of available lots listed for sale.
Sales in most price segments of our market are lower than 2017. Two exceptions to this is the $800,000 to $1 million range where year-to-date sales of 91 properties are up by 4 sales from one year ago. In addition, sales over $2 million are also up modestly with 14 sales reported in 2018 compared to 11 in 2017. As per the accompanying chart every other segment of the market is running at a pace below last year. In conjunction with this, every municipality in our region has seen a decline in the number of MLS® single family home sales this year with decreased unit sales running 13% to 22% below the number of homes sold through MLS® in 2017.
In many segments of the market, reduced levels of inventory have also created a slowdown in sales activity during 2018. Since September there has been an uptick in new MLS® listing activity but on a year-to-date basis new MLS® listings which total 3,031 properties are still 5% below the number of new listings that came to market in 2017. Again when you take an in-depth look at the year-to-date MLS® statistics there are always exceptions to the overall results. In terms of inventory, our market currently has an abundance of properties listed for sale priced $750,000 and above. As of this article we have just over 14 months of available inventory for sale priced above $750,000 so there are plenty of options for buyers in this price range and some good value to be had.
Overall, 2018 has brought about a much more balanced market. The frenzied bidding wars we experienced in 2016 and early 2017 have sharply diminished leading to much more favourable and less stressful market conditions for sellers and buyers alike and we are not alone. Real estate activity in the Greater Toronto Area has also slowed as it also has in large urban centres such as Oakville, Guelph, Cambridge, Kitchener/Waterloo, London and elsewhere. These are all strong feeder markets for southern Georgian Bay real estate. A cooling off of market conditions in our region and elsewhere was bound to happen some of which is driven by increased mortgage interest rates and tighter lending rules.
The demand for southern Georgian Bay real estate has not diminished. Whether it is for retirement or recreational use, people still favour the varied four season lifestyle afforded by property ownership in this area and this is not a trend that is likely to disappear anytime soon.
As we head into 2019, sales activity will ramp back up as it always does heading into the spring. How much the market rebounds in 2019 over what we have experienced in 2018 is any one's guess. There has never been a better time to consult a local REALTOR®, one with extensive knowledge of this area and current market conditions to assist you with your real estate buying and or selling goals and objectives. Contact me and I would be delighted to provide any of my followers with a no obligation consultation of your particular buying and or selling needs.